Sunday, September 04, 2005

about: UFM 001

Donald Mcpherson & co. 'Liquified' lathe LP

Released: late 2002
Recorded: October 21st, 2001
Donald McPherson, guitar
Tim Cornelius, drums
James Currin, cello
Nathan Thompson, piano

In late 2001, the Gresham Hotel near Queens Gardens, Dunedin, was cooking slow but steady. Bar manager/booker Simon Johnston kept the place full of the most interesting musicians in town, and fair-sized audiences regularly packed the tiny room. Well, the room wasn't packed for the extraordinary performance documented on this LP - from memory, it was a freezing Wednesday night and there might - might - have been 10 or 12 people there, warming themselves over cold pints. First, Currin and Thompson played a duet. Then McPherson stepped up with his acoustic guitar and started to improvise solo, and all in the room took pause. His first cd, 'Bramble' (Metonymic) had just been released, but as brilliant as that was, what he laid down at the Gresham was on another level - completely solid, thematic, melodic improvisations, strung together with horsehair and fishing wire, agile as a bird and as implacable as a sealion. Tim Cornelius joined on drums for two pieces; one long and spacious, one short and jolting; McPherson had changed to electric by now. Then all four went at it, creating a beautiful, extended, druggy sprawl that arrested melodic lines from the piano, cello and guitar and beat them with sticks until they howled in unison, with Cornelius' drums skittering across the field.

Long before the notion of a 'label' reared it's head, we undertook to release this gig (almost all of the music featuring McPherson from that night is on the record) in order to alert the world to the kind of trip this bastard was on. And so we did, in some infinitesimally tiny way, with full colour cover art by renowned NZ artist Seraphine Pick. The edition - 40 or so - is of course no longer available.

Cornelius, Currin, and McPherson went on to become Three Forks, extant from March 2002 to January 2005, releasing one side on the long-gone UFM 002 10", one now-deleted 3" on Metonymic, and having two full-length surveys in the works, one on CMR of Auckland and another on this label. One track from 'Liquified', 'Perambulare', was included on the Pseudoarcana compilation CD 'Lowtides Rising'. McPherson has to date not released any more solo material, although there is a rumour that his guitar duets with Tetuzi Akiyama are to see limited LP release - don't blink.

And the Gresham Hotel? Gone. Boarded up; and the whole beautiful building is for sale at three quarters of a million dollars. Simon Johnston, these days, is a caregiver to the intellectually handicapped.

MP3's (128k):
'Fructifying' (solo) 8.3mb
'Tranquillize' (quartet) 11.4mb

(next: 10" to heaven and the death of the lathe...)


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